How to Pick the Right Physical Therapist Program near Locust Fork Alabama
Getting a physical therapist degree near Locust Fork AL is a critical first step to beginning a fulfilling career in the healthcare industry. Physical therapists (PT) help people who have been incapacitated due to injury or illness regain function and mobility. But before they may legally practice and provide treatment for the rehabilitation of patients, they need to receive the proper training and education. A PT must additionally be licensed in every state, a large number mandating that the licensee earn a physical therapy degree from an accredited school. So prior to selecting a physical therapy school, it’s essential to evaluate the ones you are thinking about to ensure they will deliver a quality education and satisfy your state’s licensing requirements. What you should not do is select a school just because it happens to be the nearest to your residence or it has cheapest tuition. There are other important qualifications that must be evaluated in addition to cost and location. But before we discuss what those qualifications are and what questions you should ask, we’ll cover what a physical therapist does and the options for education.
What Do Physical Therapists Do?
Physical therapists practice in varying locations, such as Locust Fork AL private practices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and sports facilities. What the facilities all share in common is that they have the equipment for the diagnosis and rehabilitation treatment of patients. As previously mentioned, physical therapists help people that are experiencing a lack of mobility and frequently pain caused by illness or injury. After diagnosing a patient, they design a program of treatment to deal with the mobility problems and reduce or eliminate any pain. They also try to stop any progression of the disability. Although the causes of disability necessitating physical therapy are numerous, they include:
- Osteoporosis and Arthritis
- Car or motor cycle accidents
- Head injuries
- Heart attacks
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Burn injuries
- Knee Replacement
- Cerebral Palsy
Licensed physical therapists work in close association with other Locust Fork AL medical professionals, including chiropractors, physicians, dentists and nurses. They can also supervise several physical therapy assistants who work for them in the diagnosis and treatment of their patients. Something to keep in mind for anyone considering entering the physical therapy profession, it is quite physically demanding. Physical therapists often lift heavy equipment as well as patients, and stand, crouch and kneel for prolonged periods of time on a daily basis.
Physical Therapy Degrees Offered
There are three physical therapy degrees offered for individuals to pursue at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Of these options, the one degree that is attainable to become a physical therapist is the doctorate. Undergraduate degrees emphasize either preparing students to become a physical therapy assistant (PTA) or readying them to progress to the doctoral level. Below are brief descriptions of degrees that are available in the Locust Fork AL area:
- Associate Degrees educate students to be physical therapy assistants, or can be the first step toward earning a more advanced degree. Applicants must have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for enrollment. The programs are typically offered by community or junior colleges, and require 2 years to complete. An internship or other form of clinical training is typically part of the curriculum.
- Bachelor’s Degrees are developed as pre-physical therapist education to prep students to progress to the doctoral level. Although they are not required to be qualified for the doctoral program, they are an important preliminary step to becoming a PT. As with the majority of bachelor’s degrees, they generally take four years to complete and often incorporate an internship program of at least 500 hours.
- Doctorate Degrees are mandated if you want to become a licensed practicing physical therapist. The degree program also must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). After earning the bachelor’s degree, the doctoral takes three years to complete, making the overall commitment seven years in the majority of cases. Clinical training is an intregal component along with the substantial lab and classroom instruction. Therefor the fulfillment of an internship is mandated, not just for graduation but in a number of states for licensing as well.
The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) has replaced the Master’s of Physical Therapy (MPT), which has been phased out and is no longer attainable in the USA. Some practicing physical therapists holding a master’s or even a bachelor’s degree were “grandfathered” in before the present licensing requirement for a doctorate was instituted.
Physical Therapy Online Colleges
While not as prevalent as the on campus options, there are some accredited online physical therapy programs available, even more at the graduate level. Due to the hands-on nature of the training, internships and clinical lab work are integrated with the online classes. This necessitates that the student live near the college campus or in proximity of an available internship. However, the online segment of the program may be accessed within the convenience and comfort of the student’s Locust Fork AL home. Online schools are not only to some extent more accessible, but in many instances more affordable. Tuition might be significantly less than similar on campus alternatives, and expenses for commuting are minimized. And a number of the online programs are accredited by the CAPTE, ensuring a quality education. These advantages may make the online alternative the best choice for those students that are disciplined enough to learn at home.
Subjects to Ask Physical Therapy Programs
By now you probably have come to decision regarding several of your initial questions, such as the kind of physical therapy degree you would like to attain, where you prefer to attend classes, and how much money you can afford to invest in your education. But considering there are numerous PT schools within the Locust Fork AL area and across Alabama, you’ll need to look into other qualifications as well in order to further narrow your list of school choices. Also, you need to make certain that you select the program that is ideal for you. That’s why we have collected a list of essential questions that you need to ask the physical therapist programs you are thinking about. Ask all of the competing colleges these questions prior to making a final decision.
Is the Physical Therapist Program Accredited? Find out if the colleges you are looking at have received accreditation from a national or a regional organization. As previously stated, if you are pursuing a doctorate the program must be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). If you choose an online program, it may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council. It’s imperative that both the physical therapy program and school you enroll in are accredited, not simply the school. Also, verify that the accreditation is from a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides guaranteeing that you receive an excellent education, accreditation might be required for state licensing and even for securing student loans or financial assistance.
What is the School’s Standing? Along with accreditation, it’s imperative that the school and program you choose have exceptional reputations within the physical therapist profession. There are a number of ways you can research a PT program’s reputation, beginning with asking for references from employers that they refer their students to. You can also search for online reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Contact some Locust Fork AL physical therapy clinics or other health care facilities that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations about your program selections. It may also be a good idea to contact the Alabama Attorney General and school licensing authority to see if any complaints have been filed against the colleges.
What is the School’s Job Placement Percentage? There are a couple of important statistics that you need to find out about all of the physical therapist schools you are reviewing. First is their graduation rate. A lower rate may mean that students dropped out because of displeasure with the program, the instructors, or both. Once the students have graduated, what percentage of them are being placed in jobs with the assistance of the college’s job placement program, particularly in the Locust Fork AL area? If a school has a high job placement rate, it’s an indication that its reputation within the medical care community is good or perhaps outstanding. It also confirms that the program has a large network of contacts to help students get internships or jobs upon graduation.
Does the School Support Licensing Requirements? It’s essential that the college you choose provides both exceptional training and a curriculum that satisfies the licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working. In every state a passing score is needed on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) in addition to a degree from an accredited physical therapy school. While licensing requirements vary state by state for PTA and PT graduates, some states require a minimum amount of clinical hours be completed and passing scores on additional exams.
Are Internships Offered? Inquire if the physical therapist schools you are evaluating have associations with Locust Fork AL hospitals or clinics for internship programs. Internships are not only a great way to get hands on training in a clinical setting, they are also a requirement for the majority of PT programs and state licensing. As an ancillary benefit, they may assist students and graduates form professional connections in the Locust Fork healthcare community and help with obtaining employment after licensing.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that likes to sit way in the rear of the classroom or get lost in the crowd, you will probably want a smaller class size. Small classes allow for more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the physical therapist colleges you are reviewing what the average teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you an opportunity to talk with some of the instructors and students to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program also.
Where is the Program Located? For many students, the physical therapist college they select will need to be within driving distance of their Locust Fork AL home. Individuals who have decided to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a school that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you might need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges typically charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges typically charge a higher tuition to those students that live outside of their districts.
Is Financial Aid Offered? The majority of DPT colleges supply some form of financial aid to their prospective students. Ask if the schools you are looking at have a financial aid office and see what kind of help is available. They at least should help in securing a student loan or any grants you might qualify for. Some physical therapy schools provide scholarships, while others provide work programs. So before eliminating a school because the tuition is too expensive, find out what financial aid may be available.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the physical therapy school you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially essential if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you must schedule evening or weekend classes in the Locust Fork AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, check if that is an option and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the procedure is for making up any classes that you may miss due to illness, work or family obligations.
Enrolling in a Physical Therapy Program near Locust Fork Alabama?
If you are planning on attending a Physical Therapy School in the Locust Fork AL area, the following information may prove to be both interesting and educational regarding the location of your future campus.
Locust Fork, Alabama
While traveling south with his troops in 1815, General Andrew Jackson camped along a river in the area. General Jackson carved his name in a locust tree, naming the area Locust Fork. In the early 1800s Nick Hudson built a public inn in what is now Locust Fork. He erected barns to shelter the horses and hogs of the Tennessee farmers who drove them to the deeper South for a more profitable market.
Locust Fork is located southwest of the center of Blount County, at 33°53'47.494" North, 86°37'50.048" West (33.896526, -86.630569). It is situated on a bluff overlooking the Blackburn Fork of the Little Warrior River. Just north of town, the Blackburn Fork enters the Little Warrior River, which flows into the Locust Fork of the Black Warrior River 2 miles (3 km) northwest of the town.
Locust Fork is located in one of the northeast-to-southwest valleys that make up the southern end of the Appalachian mountain chain. Sand Mountain forms the southeast side of the valley, and McAnnally Mountain and Hog Mountain form part of a broader, more broken ridge to the northwest. The area has been mined for coal over the past 100 years, but no current active coal mining operations exist in the immediate area, which consists of rolling hill farm country.
Physical Therapy Online Courses Locust Fork AL
Picking the best physical therapist college is an important first decision you need to make to begin a gratifying career in the healthcare profession. As we have discussed in this article, the PT or DPT degree program and school you decide on should both have excellent reputations and be accredited. However there are additional important questions that you need to ask regarding your college of choice also. You originally come to this website because of your interest in getting information on Physical Therapy Online Courses. However, as you start your search for a physical therapy college keep in mind that a number of factors will guide you toward your final decision. You may decide to go to each of the schools to view their facilities and talk with active DPT students. While there, ask yourself this important question: will this program help me reach my goal of becoming a practicing licensed physical therapist? By following our list of additional questions, you will have the ability to narrow down the options so you can make the appropriate choice. And with the necessary education and training, you can accomplish your dream of becoming a practicing physical therapist in Locust Fork AL.
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